Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the first black woman to oversee the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, was responsible for the inclusion of sexual harassment as a form of discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Thanks to Congresswoman Norton and the rise of the #MeToo movement, workers who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace have been able to take legal action against their employers. These workers, however, are only protected because they work in a company with 15 or more employees.
With the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII was only applied to workplaces with 15 or more employees to protect small employers who might experience difficulties defending sexual harassment claims. Unfortunately, this law at the federal level does not protect all Americans. The unprotected Americans that work in companies with less than 15 employees are independent contractors, farm workers, and domestic workers, such as nannies or homecare workers.
The Issue with Independent Contractors
Independent contractors make up 34 percent of our workforce. This number is expected to grow with the rise of the gig economy and on-demand services. Gone are the days where most employees work at a factory or sit behind a desk. Some employers even capitalize on Title VII legal protections, categorizing more employees as independent contractors. Businesses have fewer obligations to independent contractors than their employees. Consequently, this ever-growing population will remain unprotected from sexual harassment and discrimination, according to federal law.
Farm and domestic workers are some of the most vulnerable workers in the United States. Oftentimes, they are women of color and immigrants. Furthermore, these workers are not always documented. To make matters worse, with both farm and domestic work, human resources departments are typically nonexistent. Both groups work in isolation, either in a private home, field, or packing house, away from the public and with little to no co-workers. Consequently, they are left with no one to advocate on their behalf.
Unstoppable Day of Action
Domestic and female farm workers are choosing to take a stand. On April 24, 2018, during Sexual Harassment Awareness month, close to 200 women met with Congress to advocate for policies with no exclusions or technicalities that protect all women in the workplace. On this day, the Unstoppable Day of Action, both groups set out to charge political leaders with finding a solution to this systematic exclusion.
Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Fight for Victims’ Rights in the Workplace
If you have experienced sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace, contact the Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. for legal assistance. We are experienced in representing private and public-sector clients in employment rights matters. We serve residents throughout New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-569-1999.